The Healthy Ageing Catalyst Award


The Healthy Ageing Catalyst Award is a high risk, high reward innovation grant offering £50,000 to exceptional researchers who are prepared to turn their most innovative ideas into workable products and services. In addition to the £50,000 grant, it involves a structured, 9-month part-time programme of support starting in September 2021 that will accelerate ideas and work with researchers to maximise the reach and impact of their work.

The grants are part of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Healthy Ageing Challenge, and the programme of support is a partnership between UKRI and Zinc. The grant is also part of the Healthy Longevity Global Grand Challenge, founded by the U.S. National Academy of Medicine and is a worldwide movement to improve physical, mental, and social well-being for people as they age.

UKRI expects to fund up to 60 Catalyst grants across three funding calls between 2020 and 2022. Full details of the scope of the next call and how to apply will be made available on the UKRI funding opportunities webpage in January 2021.

Applications will be open to UK based researchers in a variety of disciplines, including a wide range of voices, viewpoints, and experiences. We particularly welcome applications from researchers in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) and early career researchers.

We are committed to ensuring that the Catalyst grant is accessible to everyone and is inclusive by being open to all people, whatever their background, experience or identity.

To learn more about the Healthy Ageing Catalyst Awards and explore the entrepreneurial potential of your research, join us at the Catalyst Discovery Series – a series of events taking place from October 2020. Please see our FAQs or contact with any questions or if you’d like to arrange a phone call to speak to one of the team.

Who is Eligible?

Is Catalyst right for you?

Catalyst is for you if you are a UK based researcher who is:

  • Passionate about healthy ageing: Applicants’ research interests should address one or more of the Healthy Ageing Challenge Framework areas: Sustaining physical activity; Maintaining health at work; Designing for age-friendly homes; Managing common complaints of ageing; Living well with cognitive impairment; Supporting social connections; Creating healthy and active places, or make a case for another area that would have a profound impact on the Challenge goals.
  • Committed to maximising the sustainability and scalability of your work: Applicants are expected to demonstrate an entrepreneurial approach to maximising the impact of their work, whether through policy change, the market, or a social movement.

We recognise that postdoctoral researchers will have different types of relationships with their institutions and funders. We are keen to discuss how the Catalyst grant and programme of support can work for you, and accelerate the impact of your work. The Zinc Office Hour sessions, run as part of our Research Impact Series (details below), are designed to explore the ways in which Catalyst can support you.

Catalyst Discovery Series

Researchers based across the UK are invited to take part in the online Catalyst Discovery Series to explore the entrepreneurial potential of their research and the pathways to creating greater impact through the Catalyst grants. This Series will be an opportunity to find out more about Catalyst, and to shape the ideas that will form the basis of your application.

The series of events will run from October 2020 and will consist of three elements:

1) Interactive talks

An engaging mix of talks and panels on healthy ageing challenges and innovations designed to:

  • Explore different avenues for maximising the impact of your research ideas, from creating a startup, to generating policy change, to building organisational innovations or social movements
  • Engage in discussions on priority and neglected areas within healthy ageing with other researchers and innovators

2) Office hours

Ongoing offices hours with the Zinc team, designed for researchers to:

  • Explore how the Catalyst programme of support can boost your research impact beyond a traditional academic grant
  • Discuss your research interests and work through your proposal with the Zinc team

3) Bootcamp

A high-intensity, hands-on, workshop-based weekend bootcamp designed to help researchers:

  • Develop an early-stage healthy ageing idea through frameworks and exercises adapted from startup methodologies
  • Learn how to communicate your ideas and their impact to a range of audiences and stakeholders
  • Meet other researchers as part of the growing community of healthy ageing researchers and innovators

Social Space

A channel on Slack will be available for all those that attend any of the Catalyst Discovery Series sessions to continue conversations, chat informally, network and make connections.

Who can participate?

The events are open to lead applicants (researchers), senior academics who might be involved in a proposal and others interested in partnering in a project (charities, businesses, local councils, etc.). We particularly welcome applications from early career researchers.

Researchers in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) and early career researchers are encouraged to apply.

Visit funding web page

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